Friday, February 15, 2008

How to choose a church

Here's a great little list of priorities in looking for a new church from Mark Dever's book, "What is a healthy church"

How To Find A Good Church

1. Pray.

2. Seek counsel from a godly pastor (or from elders).

3. Keep your priorities straight.
• The gospel must be truly affirmed, clearly preached, and faithfully lived out. A serious lack in any of these expressions of the gospel
is very dangerous.
• The preaching must be faithful to Scripture, personally challenging, and central to the congregation’s life. You will only grow spiritually
where Scripture is treated as the highest authority.
• Also very important is to consider how the church regulates baptism, the Lord’s Supper, church membership, church discipline, and
who has the final say in decision making.
• In short, read chapters 5 to 13 in this book!

4. Ask yourself diagnostic questions such as:
• Would I want to find a spouse who has been brought up under this church’s teaching?
• What picture of Christianity will my children see in this church—something distinct or something a lot like the world?
• Would I be happy to invite non-Christians to this church? That is, would they clearly hear the gospel and see lives consistent with
it? Does the church have a heart for welcoming and reaching non-Christians?
• Is this church a place where I can minister and serve?

5. Consider geography. Would the church’s physical proximity to your home encourage or discourage frequent involvement and service? If
you’re moving to a new area, try to locate a good church home before you buy a house.


Get the whole book here.

HT: New Attitude


Bruce Sabin said...

This was a timely post for me. I will soon be moving to a new town. From what I have learned, there is only 1 Reformed Baptist church in the mid-sized city, and it is about 15 miles (20 minutes) from the house I am buying.

I considered looking into Presbyterian churches, but I really am much more inclined toward Baptist theology.

So, should I pick:
church A -- Reformed, Baptist and 20 minutes away;
church B -- Reformed Presbyterian and 5 minutes away;
or churches C-Z -- the plethora of nearby Baptist churches using a seeker-sensitive model?

I have also thought a lot about the fact that we're lucky to have such choices at all. For Protestants in many communities around the world, and for most Christians throughout church history, there was no such choice; there was just the one church in their community.

Millions of Christians today feel blessed to have a church to attend at all, and they can barely imagine having a choice of churches.

Mike Gilbart-Smith said...

Great Question, Bruce.

I guess it would depend on a few things.

1) Could you move closer to the church you'd really want ot join and then commute 20 mins?
2) If you are going to be somewhere longterm, and you think that the Lord might want you to serve as an elder eventually, it might be good to go to a slightly less healthy church where you could serve as an elder than a more haelthy church where you never could.
3) if you don't aspire to be an elder, or don't imagine you'll live there for a long time, I'd go to the lose presbyterian church I think.
But it is a tough call.